BB.com Goes To Singapore 5: On The Banks Of Marina Bay
Through land reclamation on the southern banks of Singapore, the former river mouth was converted to a bay which became the prime location for both financial and tourism industry of Singapore. With this development project came skyscrapers springing out from the sea, highrises towering over the Singaporean horizon, and unique man-made marvels bedazzling its spectators. Most of Singapore’s “shouldn’t-wouldn’t-couldn’t-miss” tourist destinations can be found on this bay. This 5th installment of the BB.com Goes To Singapore series takes you on a walk along Marina Bay.
Merlion Park and Esplanade (photo from 2008).
Number one on every Singapore “must-see-must-do” tourist destinations list is none other than the country’s most iconic symbol, the Merlion. This 8.6-meter tall, 70-ton, water-discharging, half-fish-half-lion statue has been the insignia of the Singapore Tourism Board from 1966 until it was changed in 1997. Yet, the Merlion is still revered as a world-famous symbol of this former fishing village, now a lion city.
The Merlion Park in front of Singapore CBD.
Rain didn’t stop us from taking our mandatory Merlion group shot.
Majestically poised on the shores of One Fullerton, the Merlion Park offers a cityscape backdrop of highrises and skyscrapers of Singapore’s Central Business District. Going to Singapore without a photo with the country’s icon seemingly makes the trip incomplete. On my two trips to Singapore, never did I see Merlion Park without any visitor. Rains didn’t even stop tourist from taking their photos. Good thing no one was hurt when the statue was struck by lighting on the 28th of February in 2009.
Tourist taking photos in the middle of the rain. Singapore Flyer on the background.
Crossing Esplanade Bridge from Merlion Park takes city adventurers to one of Singapore’s architectural marvel, unique to the eyes of many, the Esplanade – Theatres On The Bay. The giant durian-shaped edifice is built on a 6-hectare lot fronting Marina Bay. Aside from being a theater for the arts, the building is packed with a mall, restaurants, galleries, recital halls, a library, and a lot more which would cater to everyone – from all classes, from all walks of life.
Esplanade Bridge going to Theatres On The Bay (photo from 2008).
Duds in Esplanade – Theatres On The Bay.
Inside Esplanade (photo from 2008).
Esplanade’s Outdoor Theatre is located along the 300 meter stretch of Marina Bay. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights come alive with live performances from different genres of music. Anyone could sit in and enjoy live acts, free of charge. On lazy afternoons, I sat on a staircase just behind the stage, listened to the band’s sound check, while I appreciated the majestic cityscape of Singapore.
Live music with the Singapore’s cityscape on the backdrop.
With my brother and sister behind Esplanade’s Outdoor Theatre stage. Marina Bay Sands on the background.
If hunger strikes in the middle of the long walk, grab good grubs in Makansutra Gluttons Bay which is conveniently located beside Esplanade – Theatres On The Bay. This open-air food center offers a collection of hand-picked hawkers in Singapore serving the finest Asian cuisine. Makansutra is a brainchild of K.F. Seetoh, TV host of Travel and Living Channel’s “The Food Surprise” and author of “Guru of Grub”.
Hawkers in Makansutra Gluttons Bay.
Chicken and mutton satay (photo from 2008).
Barbeque chicken wings
Mediocre food tourists like me started meals with the Makansutra’s regulars on the menu. Satay is a seasoned, skewered, and grilled of sliced mutton or any other meat served with sauce. Seafood lovers would love the boneless and tender Barbeque Sambal Stingray covered with sambal belachan spread. For non-seafood lovers, perhaps the Barbeque Chicken Wings would satisfy your palettes. These are only the basics of Makansutra – a wide range of gastronomic delights await food lovers of all sorts.
A cook in a Makansutra hawker.
We continued our leisure stroll down Marina Promenade towards the eye-catching lotus-shaped building of the ArtScience Museum. The world’s first ArtScience museum caters to international touring exhibits like “Outside In: A Magnum Photos Showcase” and “The Art of the Brick”, two of the ongoing exhibits during my visit. Read more about the museum in Art & History in Singapore’s Museums.
A dramatic addition to Singapore’s stunning cityscape is the triple 55-storey integrated resort of Marina Bay Sands. The monumental feat boast of three blocks which consist of a Theatre Block, an Exhibit & Convention Block, and a Casino Block. Connecting the 3 towers is the massive SkyPark known for its world’s longest elevated infinity pool – Marina Bay Sands’ cherry on top. Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands is truly set standards for modern engineering, modern architecture, and modern tourism.
Marina Bay Sands under construction (a photo from 2008).
Marina Bay Sands
Louis Vuitton crystal pavilion.
Shopping enthusiasts would definitely love Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands with over 300 stores, shops, boutiques, outlets, and many more. Not to mention the world’s largest Louis Vuitton boutique floating like a gem on the banks of Marina Bay. To cap off your long walk, sit down facing the bay, relax, and awe with Marina Bay Sand’s multimedia spectacle called Wonder Full. Watch the combination of vibrant lights, pyrotechnics, water fountains dancing in sync with the music and amazing skyline of Singapore’s Central Business District on the background.
Everyone waiting for Wonder Full.
Development of Marina Bay area made a major contribution in Singapore’s tourism industry, and to the worlds of business and finance, as well. Aside from the increase in tourist influx, career opportunities have opened up, not only to Singaporeans, but for people around the globe, including our fellow Filipinos. In this journey, I met quite a lot of my countrymen working hard towards better living. However, the huge salary earned is still incomparable to the sacrifice made by OFW’s (Overseas Filipino Workers) who spend months, even years, away from their beloved families, friends, and relatives. And that, for me, is a noble deed.
Cheers to all OFW’s across the entire planet.
Panorama of Marina Bay from the roof terrace of Esplanade – Theatres On The Bay
Read on to my culinary journey in the Lion City.
Here are some fast facts that may help you on your trip:
1. Visit Merlion Park, especially if it is your first time in Singapore. The park is open 24/7.
2. There are also free live performances inside Esplanade – Theatres On The Bay. I watch a full orchestra played wonderful Christmas carols. The acoustics were nice, and it was only the lobby. What more inside their concert halls, and theaters.
3. Live acts, also free of charge, in Esplanade’s Waterfront held on the Outdoor Theatre during Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
4. Makansutra Gluttons Bay opening hours:
5:00 PM – 2:00 AM – Monday to Thursday
5:00 PM – 3:00 AM – Friday – Saturday
4:00 PM – 1:00 Am – Sunday
5. Makansutra gets quite filled most of the time, so be patient and wait for your a table.
6. For information about ArtScience Museum, read BB.com Goes To Singapore 3: Art & History in Singapore’s Museums.
7. Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Sands SkyPark entrance fees (unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go there but here are the rates):
SGD 20 – Adults
SGD 14 – Kids
Open from 10AM – 10PM daily.
8. Start your walk maybe after lunch and end the night by watching Wonder Full or have dinner in Makansutra. Here are the show schedules:
Sundays to Thursdays 8:00 PM and 9:30 PM
Fridays and Saturdays 8:00 PM, 9:30 PM, and 11:00 PM
9. Bring your camera.
10. Bring ponchos or rain coats during the rainy season. Be careful of lighting storms.
11. Read more about the BB.com Goes To Singapore Series.
12. More Singapore destinations in Biyaheng Singapore.
13. Like Biyaherong Barat on Facebook.
14. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter
15. Happy travels everyone.